Security Agents Claim Dismantling of Rebel Terrorist Ring
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) _ Government agents arrested 25 members of a rebel terrorist ring, including a labor leader and an opposition politician, the deputy chief of the State Security Bureau said Friday.
Capt. Andres Garcia, deputy chief of the Interior Ministry’s security bureau, told a news conference the arrests were made on Christmas Day. He claimed the ring was responsible for blowing up utility poles and committing other acts of sabotage.
Garcia claimed the ring was part of the Nicaraguan Democratic Force’s ″internal front″ and the terrorists were trained and supplied by the Central Intelligence Agency. The force is the largest of the Contra rebel organizations fighting the leftist Sandinista government.
Reagan administration officials justify support of the rebels, claiming that Nicaragua’s government supports rebels fighting to overthrow other nation’s and that the Marxist government’s close military ties to Cuba and the Soviet Union threaten security in Central America.
Garcia said that among those arrested were Jose Altamirano Reyes, executive secretary of the Nicaraguan Workers’ Central, and Humberto Urbina Chavarria, a national executive board member of the Social Christian Party.
He identified the leader of the ring as Guillermo Aguilera, a little-known businessman.
Miguel Angel Salgado, a member of the Workers’ Central executive committee, said Altamirano was arrested 40 days ago and not Dec. 25 as Garcia claimed.
Garcia also said the Rev. Oswaldo Mondragon, parish priest at the capital’s El Calvario Church, had direct contact with Aguilera but had not been taken into custody by state security. He did not offer any other details.
When asked by The Associated Press about the accusations, church spokesman the Rev. Bismark Carballo, responded, ″They are false.″
Carballo said the conference of Nicaraguan bishops had sent President Daniel Ortega a letter Jan. 6 warning the Sandinista government ″not to mount any frame-ups against the church,″ and ″this is what seems to be happening now.″
″We reject all the accusations made by State Security against our deputy general secretary, Jose Altamirano,″ Salgado told the AP. He said the government ″is trying to involve him (Altamirano) in alleged subversive activities to take him out of circulation as an active labor leader.″
Garcia said that during the arrests, security agents raided a number of hideouts and seized explosives and 47 sub-machine guns ″which were provided (to) them by the CIA through couriers from Honduras.
″The CIA is interested in involving members of political, labor and Catholic religious organizations in counterrevolutionary activities in order to launch a slander campaign against the Sandinista revolution and legally constituted organizations,″ Garcia said.
He did not explain why the announcement of the arrests was delayed. The government granted itself wide powers of search and arrest as part of a state of emergency decreed last fall in the fight against the Contras.